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Avian Species - Sea Ducks


General Information

Sea ducks visit the 1002 region for 2 to 4 weeks every year. While they do not breed here, they use the area for molting purposes. Anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 birds visit the region each year. Predators include the arctic fox and glaucous gulls.

Critical Time Periods

Sea ducks visit the 1002 region from mid-July to mid-September.


There has been a decline in the number of sea ducks and other marine birds in the area, which raises concern about the impact that oil drilling will have on them, especially if there is a spill. Sea ducks are especially vulnerable during their stay on the North Slope because the time they spend there is for molting. This leaves them unable to fly for 3-4 weeks. Molting also requires a large amount of protein to grow new feathers. Oil drilling could potentially disrupt the ducks' foraging capabilities, depriving them of much needed nutrients. However, one study showed that the ducks' foraging patterns are not significantly altered by minor disturbances, which perhaps suggests that oil drilling will not have a large impact on them. Another study that was performed showed that seismic activity does disturb ducks. Their results show a decline in population in a certain area where seismic activity starts, although underwater seismic activity had no effect on them.


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